Fiona O’Loughlin on her Fiercely Honest New Memoir, Truths from an Unreliable Witness

Fiona O’Loughlin on her Fiercely Honest New Memoir, Truths from an Unreliable Witness

Briefly tell us about your book.

My book is a memoir. It personally feels like a sliding door scenario. I was midway through a conventional life of motherhood and wifedom in a remote area. I found myself stumbling across a career in Stand Up. I was so in love with the art form that I had an unstoppable desire to master the craft of it. But I lived in Alice Springs with a husband and five kids, and inside me already was a slow-growing and life-threatening dependence on alcohol. My book is very much a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.

What inspired the idea behind this book?

The book was inspired when I was at rock bottom, penniless and living at the mercy of my parents in my childhood home. I had not long survived a near-death, 16-day coma when my actress sister Emily was visiting Mum and Dad. I was in a ball in our old bedroom that was once shared by five girls, and Emily sat down next to me and rubbed my shoulder and said: ‘You know you are going to write your way out of this’.

What are you hoping the reader will take away from your book?

That anyone and I mean ANYONE can fall victim to addiction, and I have desperately tried to show the reader what addiction can and does look like up close and personal. I hope we can all stop turning away from the sadness and agony addiction causes. Particularly amongst families. The stigma and the shame of alcoholism is astonishing. It is also very dangerous. It’s killing alcoholics every bit as much as the alcohol itself.

What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

The most challenging part of writing the book was letting it go and signing off on it. I find that part of the process excruciating. The last day especially. The moment when you have done all you can… but have you? I’m so relieved when the deadline passes and it’s behind me. I definitely won’t be reading it again for a while. It would be torture to find something I missed or something I wanted to expand on between now and it hitting the shelves.

What does it feel like to hold this book in your hands?

It feels surreal holding this book in my hands as it is only my second book. I don’t come from a family where people write books. I didn’t come from a town where people write books. It feels weird and wonderful in all the right places. But mostly it just feels fabulous.

Reviews

An Unforgettable Memoir: Read an Extract of Truths from an Unreliable Witness by Fiona O'Loughlin

Review | Extract

2 November 2020

An Unforgettable Memoir: Read an Extract of Truths from an Unreliable Witness by Fiona O'Loughlin

    Authentic and Witty: Read our Review of Truths from an Unreliable Witness by Fiona O'Loughlin

    Review | Our Review

    26 October 2020

    Authentic and Witty: Read our Review of Truths from an Unreliable Witness by Fiona O'Loughlin

      Publisher details

      Truths from an Unreliable Witness
      Author
      Fiona O’Loughlin
      Publisher
      Hachette
      Genre
      Non Fiction
      Released
      27 October, 2020

      Synopsis

      A fiercely honest and wryly funny memoir from one of Australia's most loved comedians shows us that no matter how far down you get, there is always a way back. Fiona O'Loughlin was raised in the generation of children who were to be seen, but not heard ... unless there were guests in the house. Then she'd watch everyone, telling stories, making each other laugh. This was where she discovered the rhythm of stories and the lubrication that alcohol leant the telling. Years later, as a mum of five, Fiona would become one of Australia's most-loved comedians, performing gigs in New York, Montreal, Singapore, London, Toronto and Edinburgh. Fiona looked like she was living her dream - but she was hiding a secret in open sight, using alcoholism as material for her comedy and using comedy as an excuse for her alcoholism. Truths from an Unreliable Witness is a fiercely honest and wryly funny memoir of melancholy, love, marriage, the loss of love and marriage, homelessness, of hotel rooms strewn with empty mini-bar bottles of vodka, of waking from a two-week coma, of putrid drug dens and using a jungle to confront yourself. It is about hitting rock bottom and then realising you are only halfway down. Ultimately, it's about hanging on to your last straw of sanity and finding laughter in the darkest of times. You may want to sit down for this...
      Fiona O'Loughlin
      About the author

      Fiona O'Loughlin

      Fiona O'Loughlin is Australian comedy royalty with an award-winning career of almost twenty years. Fiona performs to packed houses across the globe, from headlining the world-renowned Improv Comedy Club in LA, to repeat seasons in Hong Kong, and performing at Edinburgh Fringe, Montreal's Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, the UK's Leicester Comedy Festival, Adelaide Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. As well as a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian, Fiona is an accomplished author, publishing Me of the Never Never in 2011. She has also appeared on I'm a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here!Good News WeekSpicks and Specks and Celebrity Apprentice among many others. Fiona lives in Adelaide.

      Books by Fiona O'Loughlin

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